Josef Martinez scores twice, United beat Earthquakes 4-2 (Jul 04, 2017)

BY AP • July 5, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) Not long ago, Atlanta United was on the outside looking in. Down its star forward to injury. Behind in the playoff race. Eight games in 25 days looming.

Atlanta finished that stretch Tuesday in fourth place with its offense on a roll. Josef Martinez scored two of the team's four second-half goals to lift the first-year expansion club past the San Jose Earthquakes 4-2.

Anton Walkes scored the winner off a header in the 81st minute.

Martinez scored his second goal of the match - ninth of the season - in the 89th minute to clinch the win.

San Jose (7-7-5) scored in the second minute and led 1-0 at half, but played with 10 men after defender Kofie Sarkodie drew a red card.

Sarkodie drew an early yellow card after cleaning out Yamil Asad's feet with a two-footed slide. He tripped Asad again in the 33rd and received red.

The ejection, which highlighted a physical game featuring seven yellow cards and two reds, proved costly.

Atlanta (9-7-3) worked the ball around the outside and created chances, which translated into 29 total crosses - three of the four goals were the product of a cross.

''In this league when you go down a player it's a big challenge,'' Atlanta coach Tata Martino said through a translator. ''If San Jose had stayed with 11 on 11, it might have been a different result.''

Martinez scored off a header from Greg Garza's cross in the 65th minute to give Atlanta a one-goal edge. Less than a minute later, San Jose mounted an uncontested counter and Chris Wondolowski equalized by beating goalkeeper Kyle Reynish to a perfectly placed cross to the far post.

''That's what happens when you turn off for a couple seconds,'' Atlanta defender Michael Parkhurst said. ''Wondo does what Wondo's been doing for a long time. He snuck it in there where there was barely any space to sneak it in and it was a great finish.''

Walkes' go-ahead in the 81st came off a short corner, Atlanta's first goal from a set piece in league play.

Reynish made his first start for Atlanta in place of Alec Kann, who is out 6-8 weeks with a left quad injury sustained in Saturday's 2-0 win over Columbus. Kann started all 18 games prior to Tuesday.

Reynish was tested early.

Midfielder Tommy Thompson scored in the second minute when after gathering a deflected pass in the box, he blasted a shot into the upper-left corner. The homegrown midfielder recorded his first goal in four seasons with the Earthquakes.

''He's been close in his career, but for him to do it tonight, hopefully that breaks it open a little,'' San Jose coach Chris Leitch said. ''I know he's capable.''

Leitch was promoted to head coach on June 25 after San Jose fired manager Dominic Kinnear. Leitch was previously the technical director and oversaw the development academy.

''The work they've put in, you can't ask for much more,'' Leitch said. ''Especially considering what they've been through these past nine days.''

The lone regular-season matchup was delayed 30 minutes because of lightning.

Atlanta (9-7-3) now leads Orlando FC by a point for fourth place in the Eastern Conference heading into the Gold Cup break.

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